The time to reduce our carbon footprint is now, exec says
Kiwibank has announced that it will make sustainable business loans, with preferential interest rates, available to business banking customers from Sept. 26.
Kiwibank Sustainable Business Loans will enable more Kiwi businesses, regardless of the industry, to implement sustainability initiatives that will assist in reducing their carbon footprint. Sustainable uses of the loans include:
- NZGBC Green Star five or above and Homestar eight or above buildings
- energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy generation/storage, equipment electrification, decarbonising process heat, and low emission charging infrastructure
- transportation, electric or hydrogen light vehicles, low-emission heavy vehicles
- circular economy including sustainable packaging, waste infrastructure and carbon capture and storage
- purpose-led and B Corp certified organisations
The New Zealand-owned bank also partnered with sustainability fintech Cogo to equip businesses with the tools to easily calculate their emission footprint, so they can measure the success of their sustainability initiatives. The web-based app, which will be available as soon as September, will also provide suggestions and guidance on how to reduce business emissions and improve efficiency.
“New Zealand is a country of small and medium enterprises that not only make a critical contribution to our economy and our communities but are essential for the future prosperity of our nation,” Kiwibank CEO Steve Jurkovich said. “Sustainable finance shouldn’t be reserved for big business alone. We will be the first Kiwi bank to offer an off-the-shelf sustainable loan option for all businesses no matter size or industry type. This is about providing the support small and medium enterprises need to thrive in the global economy of the future. We will help them fund and realise their sustainability credentials to earn investor and customer trust.”
Kiwibank also committed to protect the best interest of New Zealanders by ensuring that it continues to withhold banking services from entities outlined in its Responsible Business Banking policy, including sectors such as fossil fuels, casinos, military grade weapons, and tobacco.
“Around half of SMEs are already taking active steps to improve sustainability, but when it comes to measuring their emissions, many don’t know where to start or are too busy running their businesses to take further action,” said Tom Williams, Kiwibank head of sustainable finance. “To achieve our nation’s goal to reduce emissions every Kiwi business needs to take action. Kiwibank will be encouraging businesses to make better decisions by mainstreaming access to sustainable finance and giving those businesses the ability to easily track their carbon footprint.”
The B Corp certified bank is the first bank in Aotearoa to roll out a digital carbon management tool for its business banking customers.
“As a country, New Zealand has always been vocal about reducing greenhouse gas emissions – but achieving this will take leadership,” Cogo APAC CEO Julie Lindenberg said. “Our collective action can have a dramatic impact in terms of addressing climate change. Kiwibank is leading the banking industry in New Zealand by recognising the key role banks have to play in enabling individuals and businesses to spearhead this change. The time to reduce our carbon footprint is now. We cannot wait. We’re proud to be the go-to solution for change for the world’s largest banks, and we’re excited about kicking off this change in Aotearoa, in partnership with Kiwibank.”